Published online by Cambridge University Press: 25 September 2021
In letter 30, Spinoza states that he intends to write a treatise that would bring to a close the endless stream of accusations of atheism made by common people. Five years later, in 1670, the treatise known as the Theological-Political Treatise (TTP) was published anonymously. However, one could argue that the TTP takes the existence of God for granted. Spinoza berates men who only know God inadequately ‘through created things, of which they know not the causes’ and who accuse of atheism philosophers in possession of real knowledge of God. Such men believe in miracles, which, being ‘in contravention to God’s nature and laws’, inevitably ‘leads them to atheism’. But Spinoza’s attempt to turn the tables did not convince the radical Cartesian Lambert van Velthuysen (1622–85), whose critique of the TTP in letter 42 deals with three main topics, which all seem to imply more than atheism
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